Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wondrous Wednesday

Our days get more full as the week goes on. We are getting to know our precious
kids better and better. I do not exaggerate when I tell you they are loved by
their ayis and by Krista and I, and I am sure by many of our supporters! Let me tell you about one moment in my day. We were sitting with kids and ayis
and playing with kids. One little boy - Kevin- who happens to have Spina Bifida
and Developmental Delays (he is not currently available for adoption) was
crying. He is one of the older kids in the room. When he gets upset, he either
screeches or cries loudly. I wonder if he gets overlooked in favor of younger,
cuter children.

Our First Hugs program manager, QiRui, gathered him up in her arms, speaking to
him softly and rocking him. She saw me watching. She said " He gets upset and
some people think he is a bad boy. But he just needs what all the babies need.
He needs love and understanding." This from someone who speaks English as a
second language.

I was floored. My eyes welled up. I told her how important this was and how glad
I was she understands. This is why we are here; why First Hugs exists. These
kids all need to be recognized as precious beings who need love. And QiRui gets
it. She really does. ( I excused myself and got up to wipe my eyes.) One precious boy -Ethan- in our program is listed as LID only available for
adoption through CCAI- he is a funny boy who loves to dance and laugh. A true

As we went to eat lunch, we met a couple from Spain who adopted their son from
XinXiang on Monday. We shared information with them, took them to see our room
and had a great time communicating in our common language - French. The
orphanage director and her assistant were confused by the English, Spanish and
French that was flying around!

One final highlight of our day: Krista trained two nannies in how to work with
several of our older kids using Montessori methods. Jill Walker from
Fredericton, New Brunswick got the program together for Krista. After a tutorial
by Krista, we brought our Thomas to our own "preschool" room and QiRui worked
with him. More details this weekend but I will tell you she is a natural. He was
very afraid when brought into a new room. She got a chair, sat close to him and
Thomas started playing. He became involved and then jumped right in. It was a
truly joyful occasion! What a smart boy, just hungering to have his curiosity

Enjoy some of our pictures!

Thomas on the left and Ethan on the right. Both boys are waiting for their forever families. They are both agency specific Thomas is with GWCA and Ethan is LID only with CCAI.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Toy Tuesday

Monday evening Krista and I unpacked our two overly-packed bags each filled with donations. We organized and repacked and brought most of the donations in to the orphanage today. Krista started her day working with QiRui, our Gracie's Room manager, sorting all the clothes. The ayis were delighted to pick out pretty new outfits for their charges. And the old was replaced with new and the winter clothes were put away in storage.

Then we broke out the new toys. Again, thank you so much to our generous donors who fulfilled items on our wish list. It was our honor to deliver those toys into hands eager to learn and experience.

At our delicious lunch, prepared by the orphanage cook, Krsita and I sat with QiRio and Fei Fei and discussed how we see First Hugs growing and changing. They were very agreeable to our needs and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the orphanage and continuing to see things improve.

Tomorrow we will tell you about a new dimension to our prgram and even have pictures to show it off. We are so pumped about this. Special thanks to Jill Walker of the Montessori School in Fredericton, New Brunswck for her great assistance. ( that was a big hint!).

One highlight of our time in the First Hugs Room is feeding the kids. They get hot cereal in the morning and mid afternoon, huge bowls of rice mixed with meat and vegetables and broth ( congee). Smells yummy! And you should see these kids eat their food. Our Thomas, ever the character, yells out cheerfully when he sees the ayi who always delivers the food. "Ayi! Ayi! AYiiiii!". Yup, he knows how important she is.

More on Wednesday!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Stunning Monday

This morning was our best Monday morning in a while. We packed up and loaded our 
bags onto a cart and brought them two hotels over to the Crowne Plaza where we 
met the CCAI families and CCAI founders Josh and Lily Zhong as well as Xia 
Zhong, the head of Chinese Children's Charities. We joined them on a bus to 
Civil Afairs and in a room filled with crying ( moms, dads, kids) and screaming 
( kids!) we saw 12 families grow. What a privilege that was.

We met our XinXiang friends there as they had brought a baby to meet his own 
family ( from Spain). We headed on the highway to XinXiang and stopped once in 
town to have lunch. Then we checked into our hotel, dropped off our luggage and 
were off to the orphanage. 

What a joy to walk into our First Hugs Room. So many familiar faces having grown 
so, and new beautiful faces too. Many kiddies were still napping so we got to 
play with just a few and slowly, others woke up and joined us. 

WE then helped feed the kiddoes and headed out to the playground to play with 
four of the two year olds ( and almost two year olds). What a fun time we all 
had. I could hardly stop smiling. Two of these kids have families they have been 
matched with and all I could think is what fun their families will have with 

We then went back in and Krista and I took two of the kids out for a walk in 
strollers. One, a three year old we call Thomas, is listed with GWCA and so 
loved the walk. The other was a little girl whose family is anxiously awaiting 
meeting her in the summer. An older lady from the senior citizen's home part of 
the SWI, joined us in our walk. We would love to get a partnership going where 
the seniors spend time with the kids!

Bottles for the younger kids and then more play time. JUst as were getting ready 
to leave, our Thomas dumped all the toys out of the toy box and climbed in. He 
is such a bright and funny boy. 

Tomorrow we will spend the whole day with the kids and bring some of the 
donations. Stay tuned for more cuteness tomorrow.

BTW, if you followed along last year and remember our sweet Bella, then just a 
few pounds - who I( Moya) spent tons of time feeding and wearing in a sling, the 
picture of me is with her! Isn't she gorgeous??

Lucy and Ethan
Krista with a Ethan and Lucy

Thomas and Lucy out for a stroll


Moya and Bella

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It's that time of year again! Tomorrow Krista Dolan, Director of our Gracie's Room/ First Hugs program, and I (Moya Smith, executive director of Dianjiang Kids International) head off to China.

We are each loaded down with two large suitcases full of donations. Thanks to all who sent us items, bought things from our Amazon Wish list and even hand made items. We will be posting pictures of these items in First Hugs. We will also be sharing some neat activities and programing we have planned.

We will also be squeezing some cute baby cheeks like this:

And playing with some sweetness like this:

And dancing with treasures like this:

And feasting our eyes on:

We will be giving them all lots of love, teaching new things to staff and making sure the children are doing well. We will be sharing supplies with others in the orphanage who have so little.

If you want to know more about what we do, watch this short video at :!video/cmdf

And follow along on our journey and fell free to comment below. We love to know you are out there when we are so far away from home!